It was not to be just a series of information about professions or an online visit to university websites, but something more comprehensive that could answer the many questions about starting a new phase in life.
A few weeks ago, Mr. Busch introduced us to the “career coach” Ms. Wulfekammer, with whom the class immediately fell into an exciting conversation. It was immediately clear that we wanted – or even desperately needed – study counselling sessions.
This student advisory session took a more informal approach, allowing us to explore our interests, strengths and doubts without pressure. It was only when we were asked to reveal our plans for the upcoming bumpy transition from school life to student or adult life that it struck the majority that it is not easy to tailor one’s passions to a specific course or job. Overwhelmed by the school leaving examination (Abitur), the accompanying pressure and the expectation of an immediate decision about the future, a degree of uncertainty and apprehension was reflected in the students’ answers. A number of them had already gathered information and had not found anything truly appealing, a number had neither gathered information nor made a decision, and a number already knew what they intended to do after the Abitur.
To receive the study guidance, the class was split into two groups that met with Ms. Wulfekammer at different times.
With a relaxed approach, aiming to create a pleasant atmosphere for informal reflection, we were spurred on with creative tasks to look at our self-assessment, to get to know ourselves and our skills better and to make our classmates aware of their own. This proved to be particularly important as only a few were able to assess their own competences and most found it easier to name positive qualities of the other person than to praise themselves soberly.
We explored our personalities with questions about our future visions and strengths and visualized them in the form of drawings of our life in 20 years or by instinctively photographing motifs in our immediate surroundings to illustrate our strengths or state of mind.
We were able to make abstract correlations through these time-bound exercises, which were meant to give us access to the subconscious. We then shared our photos with each other, explained them, and interestingly found that more often than not, the same motif could have very different meanings for different students.
The free conversations in the group allowed us to put into words and share concerns as well as hopes concerning later professional life. People talked not only about their studies, but also about options beyond, detours and shortcuts, alternatives and delays that might guarantee some students an overdue breather.
This gave some students a vague idea of their future career, others realized that their studies could wait, some felt affirmed in their career aspirations by verbalizing them, and some simply valued the opportunity to take a deep dive into their own personalities.
The active exchange between us and the career coach illustrated individual experiences, and useful tips and suggestions regarding the choice of studies were also exchanged on the part of the students.
To put it directly in the words of our class, the career coaching programme proved to be so successful because it was not about finding a one-size-fits-all solution but allowed room for individual motivation. What would seem like a pure nightmare to one person stimulates the creative urge of another. The programme does not have a direct objective; instead, it serves as an orientation guide that draws attention to previously unknown paths, perspectives and the pool of offers, and gives the students the necessary incentive to come up with possible ideas themselves. In the process of this search for impulses and eureka moments, creativity and thoughts are given free rein.
Class 12 students